Second-Generation Brewer - Who Else Can Say So in Singapore?
“We believe in what we do”. Trying to be as close as possible to excellence is a goal of both the young Crystalla and her father Ernest Ng, who is the founding brew master of the Singaporean Red Dot Brewery. Having started almost ten years ago, the brewery and all their undertaking is still owned and run entirely by the family.
Although 61-year-old Ernest is still very much involved, his daughter Crystalla is perhaps the only the second-generation brewer in Singapore – a job that most Singaporean parents wouldn’t want for their child. “Being a brewer isn’t about drinking”, Crystalla explains. Having started to help (but not to drink) her father at a young age, when brewing was still less sophisticated, her parents encouraged her to pursue the things she loved – crafting beer.
cover photo via reddotbrewhouse.com.sg
Starting with Home-Brewing to Producing 12,000 Bottles Per Hour
Just like her father, who only drinks to taste, Crystalla actually never drinks much – half a pint at most. Her credo, and that of Red Dot, is quality over quantity. “I want to keep my mind sharp,” she says. Many people don’t actually know that the job of a brewer is more than pulling levers and tasting beer. “As a brewer you are also a yeast farmer.” She jokingly adds that occasionally she feels like a cleaner too, as hygiene is a huge part of the process.
Having started as home-brewers, their capacity is now at 12,000 bottles per hour. Although Crystalla has learned a lot from her father growing up, she actually went to culinary school and was formally trained as a brewer and chef. Both believe in traditional beers, in which all ingredients are in balance. One example is their best-selling Summer Ale, which is about moderation without an overpowering taste.
Brewing the Future
After almost ten successful years at both their outlets, they don’t dare to speak of a heritage yet. Although they would love to build a legacy, they are not just a F&B company, but rather consider themselves to be a Red Dot family – including every member of staff. “We regularly do blind-folded beer and wine tastings with everyone in order to train and test ourselves”. She is proud to say that most staff can actually differentiate brands, grapes, and flavours – not only their own beers.
While father and daughter are fully involved in the brewing process, her mother is running the Dempsey outlet and is in charge of choosing every single wine that is sold. Crystalla calls herself lucky to have such supportive parents, as her choice of profession seemed so un-Singaporean. “The mentality is slowly changing,” she explains. “While the drinking culture is getting more sophisticated, Singaporeans are nowadays also more educated and opinionated about beers.”